Big Life - Chapter 31





The commentator sent Jaegun -who was climbing up the stairs- a smile and continued his statement.

“The Digital Literary Contest was started to find amazing pieces, not caring if they are by new writers or not. Therefore, it’s possible that you can enter multiple pieces with a pen name and win more than two awards.”

Jaegun stood next to the commentator with his two hands clasped together.

Looking from the front, over hundreds of stairs were pointing towards him.

His heart felt like it was going to burst.

A electrical current went through and over his lower body.

“There was a writer during the 2nd contest 4 years ago who won both the runner-up award and the participation prize. After that, there wasn’t another person with multiple awards.

The commentator hesitated slightly, pulling in the crowd with his commentating. He smiled, wasting time. His two eyes shifted towards the embarrassedly standing Jaegun.

“Writer Se Gunwoo here won the grand prize with “A Dumb Woman.” However, ladies and gentlemen, Se Gunwoo also won the runner-up prize.”

“How could this be…!”

Jongjin gasped.

Jaegun’s family, Suhee, and Hyojin were all sitting mouths gaping open, looking forward. The hall became a notch louder.

Myunghoon was the one who got the most shock out of this hall.

He was completely out of it, not even knowing that he was crumpling his speech in his hand.

“The name is ‘Child of the 90s,’ written by Ha Jaegun. Which one is your real name, sir?”

The commentator, even though he knew it, asked.

Jaegun coughed slightly and took the mic that the commentator gave him.

“Ha Jaegun is my real name.”

“Yes, writer Ha Jaegun. Thank you for entering with such a great work. The judges said that it was hard to compare between the two on the grand prize. What do you have to say?”

Jaegun held the mic again.

Jaegun opened his mouth, thinking of what to say, before finally saying,

“I honestly have no idea. My hair’s all white and I don’t have any thoughts right now so it’s hard to say. I’m sorry.”

“Haha, yes, it feels like you’re really nervous despite how you look. Now, at this point, I’ll introduce you to the person that will be giving out the award. It’s the company that has only looked for books for 30 years. Introducing Korea’s major bookstore with over 25 stores throughout the country -come out please- Mr. Han Jungdo of Gyojimungo.”

A man sitting on a reserved seat stood up. He was Representative Han Jungdo of Gyojimungo. To give the award, he went up and took the mic.

“The work that has been picked by the judges to win the grand prize is, “A Dumb Woman.” It’s a work that describes a woman as part of a family, a daughter, and an older sister in her 20s. It describes the woman very emotionally with creative and fresh writing.”

Jaeyn opened her eyes.

She didn’t know that it was by her brother so it was obvious that she didn’t know the meaning of the story.

Myungja beside her was already tearing up. She held her daughter’s hand.

“The main character, Jaehee, of “A Dumb Woman,” is truly like the title, dumb. She doesn’t want love as a daughter and she sacrificed herself as a daughter. For her brother’s future, she gladly gives up her future  -her beautiful and lovely young days- all for her family. But Jaehee never says it’s a sacrifice because she had never thought of it as so; to her, this is only a deed encompassing love that must be given to her family.”

Jaeyn put her head down and covered up her mouth.

From her teary eyes, tears were falling down.

She told herself that she wasn’t to cry on such a happy day, but no matter how hard she tried her warm tears couldn’t to stop.

“Jaeyun….”

Myungja took out a handkerchief and gave it to her.

Jaeyn took it and wiped her face but it was impossible. With one small handkerchief, she couldn’t dry the tears from her long youthful days.

With applause, Jaegun was given the award.

Jaegun stood proudly over hundreds of people. It was time for him to give his speech.

“I did make a speech …. but to recite it feels like everything pointless. First I want to thank my family, my colleagues who broke their busy life to come here…. Jongjin, Hyojin, Suhee, thanks. And to the people of the Digital Literary Contest, thank you again. And finally, to my master and teacher who I cannot give the name of for personal reasons, thank you.”

“This guy really has the power of making people surprised. You’re dead when you come back.”

Jongjin looked at Jaegun and said jokingly with his finger holding on to his tingling nose. Suhee and Hoyin had a light smile and eyes a bit red.

“I warned my cry baby sister before I came here. ‘Please don’t cry because I’ll be embarrassed.’ She laughed at that and was sure that she wouldn’t but look over there. The beautiful girl who’s crying out waterfalls is my sister.”

Jaegun pointed to Jaeyn with a joke.

Many stares went over to Jaeyn and many laughters erupted. But Jaeyn still couldn’t laugh at her brother’s jokes.

“I’ll probably get scolded when I get home because of the title. ‘There are a lot of good titles so why did you name it ‘A Dumb Woman’?’ It’s obviously a story made because of me, why am I so dumb, she’s probably gonna scold me for so many things. But… I had no choice. My sister is dumb.

Jaegun stopped speaking and closed his eyes.

The hall became quiet. In the silence, Jaegun was looking at the times that he lived with her sister’s love. There wasn’t a day that wasn’t important.

“27 years…”

Jaegun opened his eyes and spoke.

In his blurry eyes, he could clearly see the figure of her sister crying.

“27 years without change… she was a dumb sister who lived her life for her brother without a care for her life. Giving up her transportation fees so that her brother wouldn’t feel ignored or not confident. Eating rice with water with no side dishes at all for her meals …while always giving up meat for her brother. Quietly taking her brother’s wallet, giving money, and being ignorant about it…”

Unlike what he prepared, the speech was slow and choppy.

Many people in the crowd were moved by Jaegun’s shaking voice filled with sincerity

“I offer this book to the dumb woman in my sister. Mother, Father, thank you. For making such an amazing sister. And caring for my sister and I as well.”

“Uhkhkhkhkhkhhkhhhkkkk..!”(Best laughing notations ever)

Jaeyn couldn’t hold it in anymore and let out a cry.

Her makeup was completely messed up but she didn’t care. Myungja put her face down to her back and silently teared.

Jongjin stood up and clapped. Hyojin and Suhee followed. From there, the entire hall started to clap loudly.

 

Only one person didn’t clap,

‘Uhhhhhk?!’

Myunghoon was holding his chest and shivering. His glance staring into his own shiny shoes.

Could these shoes walk all the way to that podium.

Could I say my speech without caring about Jaegun’s achievements.

All of this seemed impossible.

All the figures in his eyes were blurry. His head shook and the world was blurry. It was so loud that his ears were going to fall off.

‘No…! If I back down here, I’ll be a bigger laughingstock. I’m me! I shouldn’t be concerned with something like this! Those idiot judges! Do you think I’ll back off here?! I’m Oh Myunghoon!’

Myunghoon, with shaky hands, straightened his speech.

He wanted a supplement to calm his heart right now. He was usually good at being in front of people and enjoyed it, but today was different. There was no one who could bring him confidence anywhere near him.

‘Ha Jaegun…! Are you this happy to get an grand prize in a contest like this? You’re bringing your family and filming a drama. Yes, have fun right now! This will be the climax of your life!’

Myunghoon stared at Jaegun cursing at him and went back to his speech. Thinking about how should he change it to make the focus on Jaegun turn more to him

And then-

The commentator continued.

“Because of time restraints, We will not be doing the speeches for the other awards. All the winners please come up to the podium.”

Myunghoon shot his head up surprised.

He didn’t mishear it. The winners were getting up and walking to the podium.

‘No time… Not doing… speeches?!’

It meant that he had to be one person mixed in with the other winners.

No sentence of speech could be given

Understanding the reality, Myunghoon’s body completely broke. In his two unglazed eyes were the shiny bright hall’s light.

….

“Representative, do you want some tea?”

“No need, just go.”

Oh Tejin said on the chair.

He was over 50 years old but still healthy. He was a person who cared for his health because of his family and company.

Tejin was discomforted. Because of his youngest son.

What could be something more important than his mother’s birthday.

An answer couldn’t come even though he thought hard. It was his son, very far away from constructive life. Never the reliable one.

The phone rang on the desk.

Tejin was tired so he ignored it. But as the vibrations kept coming, he sighed and picked up the phone.

“Yes, Oh Tejin.”

“Hello, representative, I’m Director Park Jungbe.”

“Ahah, yes, Director Park, Have you been well?”

Tejin answered in a light voice compared to his bad mood.

Gyojimungo was the first domestic company to have online and retail stores. It is a big company so from his point of view, it was obvious that he needed a good relationship with them.

“Yes, I’ve been well. Ah, I just wanted to give my congratulations so I called you.”

“Congratulations? Haha, do I need to be congratulated?”

“Of course, your son has won a Literary Award so that’s good enough for congratulations. As a representative of a publishing company and a writer yourself, isn’t that a good thing? Congratulations.”

Tejin’s face lost its laughter. With a serious face, he stood up and went by the window.

“My son got a literary award?”

“Did you not know? Today was the ceremony.”

“No I haven’t heard of it. What is it?”

“It’s the Digital Literary Contest that we’re sponsoring every year. Your son won the runner up. As it was a contest that can be entered with a pen name -and I’m not the chief from over there- I just found out now. The pen name was Ah Sungwoo and the title was ‘Lonely Man of Seoul.’

“Director, thank you for calling. I’ll check and I’ll call later”

“Yes, sir. Have a nice day.”

Tejin went straight to the computer after he cut off.

He searched up Digital Literary Contest and many news came out.

‘Myunghoon is the runner up…!’

Tejin rubbed his two hands together and checked the winner’s news.

It was as Park said. Ah Sungwoo wrote the ‘Lonely Man of Seoul’ and got the runner up.

‘That idiot! If this was happening, he should have told me earlier…!’

With the rushing regret, Tejin slapped his forehead.

He knew Myunghoon’s personality of hating losing because he was his father. Worried that Myunghoon would be like him when he was younger, he became very strict towards him.

Tejin sighed and scrolled up.

Just then,

‘Hm…?!’

Tejin looked at the monitor and froze.

The name of the winner hanged in front of his two eyes.





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